TRADING STANDARDS WARNING
Trading Standards are aware that residents in the local area are being targeted by phonecalls from individuals purporting to be from agencies such as banks, HMRC, police, telephone & internet providers and other organisations.
If you receive this type of phonecall, our advice is to terminate the call and do not give the caller any personal information (such as bank details etc) under any circumstances. Genuine businesses do not operate in this way and will never as you for personal details over the phone.
Please report any suspicious calls to Trading Standards on 08454 04 05 06.
***TRADING STANDARDS WARNING***
Trading Standards have received reports of doorstep and telephone callers in the local area offering home improvement services, in particular driveway work.
As always, we would advise all residents not to engage with doorstep callers. These callers will often use persuasive or aggressive tactics to get householders to agree to have work done, then charge far more than was quoted for poor quality work. They also often fail to provide a legally required cancellation notice which enables the householder to cancel the work within a 14 day cooling off period. For any home improvement works, we would always encourage you to use a Trusted Trader: www.dumgal.gov.uk/trustedtrader
If you have been called in this way and require further advice, or simply want to report the matter, please contact us via the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 04 05 06, or alternatively contact Police Scotland on 101.
Remember: if in doubt, keep them out!
Scammers don’t appear to have let up over the festive period. In the Stranraer and Kirkcolm areas victims have been targeted in a banking scam where a telephone caller tried to get them to transfer funds into a named bank account, as apparently there was fraudulent activity on their own account. Needless to say this was not the case. Funds were about to be transferred when the scam was spotted by sharp eyed banking staff. Again this morning a similar scam has been tried in the Portpatrick area. Please be alert to such calls. Banks do not make these type of cold calls and do not carry out their business in this manner.
Individuals and businesses are being warned to watch out for cold calls and online contact from fraudsters who are offering victims the opportunity to apply for Government grants for an advance fee.
To make the grants look legitimate fraudsters have set up bogus companies and convincing looking websites that claim to be operating on behalf of the UK Government.
Fraudsters cold call businesses and individuals offering the grant and if they’re interested direct them to fill out an online application form with their personal information.
Once the fraudsters have that information they’ll contact back victims and congratulate them on being accepted onto the grant programme.
Pre-paid credit cards
Applicants are then asked to provide identification and are instructed to get a pre-paid credit card to deposit their own contribution to the fake Government grant scheme. Fraudsters will then contact victims on the phone or are emailed and asked for the details of their pre-paid credit card and copies of statements to in order for them to add the grant funds.
Of course the grant funds are never given by the fraudsters and the money that’s been loaded by the victim onto the card is stolen.
If you receive one of these calls, hang up immediately and report it to us. We’ve already taken down one website fraudsters have been using to commit this fraud and are working with Companies House to combat this issue.
How to protect yourself:
Be wary of unsolicited callers implying that you can apply for grants. You should never have to pay to receive a government grant, and they definitely won’t instruct you to obtain a pre-paid credit card. The government should have all the information they need if a genuine grant application was submitted, therefore any requests for personal or banking information either over the phone or online should be refused.
What to do if you’re a victim:
- If you think your bank or personal details have been compromised or if you believe you have been defrauded contact your bank immediately.
- Stop all communication with the ‘agency’ but make a note of their details and report it to Action Fraud.
- If you have been affected by this, or any other type of fraud, report it to Action Fraud by visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.
Trading Standards Advice
With deals on offer for everything from electronic gadgets to designer clothing, it can be difficult to spot the difference between a genuine bargain and goods which could be counterfeit, or may not even exist. Follow our tips to avoid being caught out by scammers this Black Friday.
Only use online retailers that you know of and trust. For major brands always go to the official website to find a list of authorised sellers.
Check delivery, warranty and returns policies – be especially careful when purchasing expensive items.
Do not respond to or open links in e-mails from unknown sources, no matter how good the offer may sound.
Inheritance fraud / Scam
Inheritance fraud is when you are told that someone very rich has died and you’re in line to receive a huge inheritance.
A fraudster who claims to be a lawyer from overseas or some other legal official sends you an email or a letter. They tell you that a person sharing your family name has died and left behind a vast amount of money. (one circulating presently in Scotland is purporting to be a bank representative from the Guangdong Nanyue Bank in Hong Kong)
The lawyer or official is administering the inheritance and has been unable to identify any of the dead person’s relatives. As a result, the money will go to the government. The lawyer or official suggests that, because you share the same family name as the deceased, he could pay the inheritance to you. You could then split the money between you, rather than handing it over to the government.
The fraudsters will emphasise the need to adhere to strict instructions. To hurry you into making a hasty decision, they will also stress the need to act quickly.
However, there is no inheritance and the person contacting you isn’t a lawyer or legal official.
If you respond to the fraudsters, they’ll ask you to pay various fees – for example: taxes, legal fees, banking fees etc. – so they can release your non-existent inheritance.
Each time you make a payment, the fraudsters will come up with a reason why the inheritance can’t be paid out unless you make another payment. If you ask, they will also give you reasons why the fees can’t be taken from your inheritance and have to be paid upfront.
If you become reluctant to pay a fee or suggest you can’t afford it, the fraudsters will put pressure on you by reminding you how close you are to receiving a sum of money much greater than the fees you’ve already handed over, and of how much you’ve already paid out.
The fraudsters may also ask for your bank details so they can pay the inheritance directly into your bank account. But, if you hand over your bank details, the fraudsters can use them to empty your account.
Are you a victim of inheritance fraud?
- You’ve received an email or letter informing you that someone you may be related to has died without leaving a will and you may be in line to inherit and
- You’ve paid fees to ‘research specialists’ who offer to sell you an estate report that includes information on the inheritance and how you can claim it.
What should you do if you’re a victim of inheritance Fraud.
- End all further contact with the fraudsters.
- Don’t send them any more money.
- Don’t give them your bank details.
- If you have already given the fraudsters your bank account details, alert your bank immediately.
- If you receive any threats from the fraudsters once you have stopped co-operating with them, alert the police immediately.
- Be aware that you’re now likely to be a target for other frauds. Fraudsters often share details about people they have successfully targeted or approached, using different identities to commit further frauds.
- People who have already fallen victim to fraudsters are particularly vulnerable to the fraud recovery fraud. This is when fraudsters contact people who’ve already lost money through fraud and claim to be law enforcement officers or lawyers. They’ll advise the victim that they can help them recover their lost money – but request a fee.
Protect yourself and others against inheritance fraud
- Although there are legitimate companies who make a living by tracking down heirs, they don’t do it in this way. If you’re asked for a fee for a report, it’s very likely to be bogus.
- Letters/documents provided by the fraudsters are generally badly written. Look out for spelling mistakes and poor grammar.
- Beware if you are asked to contact a webmail address such as @Yahoo or @Hotmail. As a rule, legitimate law firms do not use them.
- A legitimate law firm is highly unlikely to pay out an inheritance to someone who isn’t entitled to it. Any offer of a payout indicates that someone is up to no good.
- Fraudsters often claim that the person who has died was the victim of a well-publicised incident, such as a plane crash. To add credibility, they may even use the identity of someone who really did die in the incident
- Share this information
If you are a victim of a fraud contact Police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111. Further advice can also be found on the Action Fraud website www.actionfraud.org.uk
FUNERAL SCAM ALERT
Police Scotland officers in Dumfries and Galloway want to alert the community to a new scam which is currently doing the rounds. In the latest scam the victim receives a telephone call from an individual pertaining to be from a company selling funeral plans, when pressed further the individual advises they are from the local council. This is not the case and clearly the use of the ‘local council’ by name is an attempt to give the scam some credibility.
Community Officer Constable Clark Logie says. “Although the cover story changes, as with all scams the person on the other end of the phone is intent on obtaining a financial gain from you, whether it be banking details or payment for a product or service that never materialises.
“Constable Logie continues “The basic advice is do not deal with Cold Callers, if you require a product, service or other work carried out contact reputable companies and get a minimum of three quotes. Never give out personal or banking details to cold callers, irrespective of how they contact you, whether they attend at your door, contact you by telephone or by E mail.”
received from David Mundell MP:
We have had a constituent in the office today who has received a very convincing letter allegedly from DWP regarding a Pension Credits review. However when you call the number on the letter it claims no operators are free and asks you to leave your National Insurance number, name and address. This is not what the DWP do and no one should ever provide these details over the phone.
Anyone who receives such a letter should not call the number given. You can check with the Pension Service regarding any change of circumstances on 0345 606 0265.
DELIVERY NOTES - CAUTION
Action Fraud have issued a warning after they became aware of a potential fraud which involves misleading delivery cards being posted through letterboxes.
The ‘something for you’ cards arriving through letterboxes are designed to look like they have come from Royal Mail. The cards, which lack the Royal Mail logo, look almost identical to the ‘something for you’ slips that are posted through homes when a delivery can’t be made.
To organise a redelivery the cards urge recipients to call a 0208 number, which is not registered to Royal Mail. After ringing the number the automated message asks for your details and consignment number.
We haven't had any reports of these cards being delievered in Dumfries and Galloway however it's something the public should be alert too.
Trading Standards Warning
Trading Standards have received a number of reports of potential rogue traders operating in the Dumfriesshire area, cold-calling residents to offer home improvement and driveway work.
Our advice is always to avoid contracting with doorstep callers, as their work can often be unnecessary, carried out to a poor standard and overpriced.
Please report any concerns or suspicious callers to Trading Standards on 03454 04 05 06, or to Police Scotland on 101.
Remember: If in doubt, keep them out!